Intracellular cholesterol transporters and modulation of hepatic lipid metabolism: implications for diabetic dyslipidaemia and steatosis

Ugo Soffientini, Anna-Maria Caridis, Sharron Dolan, Annette Graham*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
165 Downloads (Pure)


To examine hepatic expression of cholesterol-trafficking proteins, mitochondrial StarD1 and endosomal StarD3, and their relationship with dyslipidaemia and steatosis in Zucker (fa/fa) genetically obese rats, and to explore their functional role in lipid metabolism in rat McArdle RH-7777 hepatoma cells.

Expression of StarD1 and StarD3 in rat liver and hepatoma samples were determined by Q-PCR and/or immunoblotting; lipid mass by colorimetric assays; radiolabelled precursors were utilised to measure lipid synthesis and secretion, and lipidation of exogenous apolipoprotein A-I.

Hepatic expression of StarD3 protein was repressed by genetic obesity in (fa/fa) Zucker rats, compared with lean (Fa/?) controls, suggesting a link with storage or export of lipids from the liver. Overexpression of StarD1 and StarD3, and knockdown of StarD3, in rat hepatoma cells, revealed differential effects on lipid metabolism. Overexpression of StarD1 increased utilisation of exogenous (preformed) fatty acids for triacylglycerol synthesis and secretion, but impacted minimally on cholesterol homeostasis. By contrast, overexpression of StarD3 increased lipidation of exogenous apoA-I, and facilitated de novo biosynthetic pathways for neutral lipids, potentiating triacylglycerol accumulation but possibly offering protection against lipotoxicity. Finally, StarD3 overexpression altered expression of genes which impact variously on hepatic insulin resistance, inducing Ppargcla, Cyp2e1, Nr1h4, G6pc and Irs1, and repressing expression of Scl2a1, Igfbp1, Casp3 and Serpine 1.

Targeting StarD3 may increase circulating levels of HDL and protect the liver against lipotoxicity; loss of hepatic expression of this protein, induced by genetic obesity, may contribute to the pathogenesis of dyslipidaemia and steatosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1372-1382
Number of pages11
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)
Issue number10
Early online date9 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


  • cholesterol
  • hepatic expression
  • proteins
  • lipid metabolism


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